In conversation with Wires Sunglasses. Zero waste, 3D printed eyewear.

Just launched on Lårs Labels, Wires Sunglasses. Wires use innovative, zero waste production to create their contemporary, yet timeless, genderless glasses. We speak to the brand to discuss their inspiration, 3D printing and the $120 billion eyewear industry.

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Tell us about Wires Glasses and who is behind the brand

In 2016, when his sunglasses broke whilst travelling, designer Yair Neuman hand-made a new pair from a single piece of wire. Inspired by his experiment, Yair was joined by his friends - social entrepreneur Lily Cole and Kwame Ferreira to found Wires. Wires Glasses uses stainless steel wire for the frames and 3D printing for the lens rims, producing a minuscule amount of waste in comparison to conventional eyewear manufacturing. Wires champion quality, craftsman/craftswoman-ship and consider our frames akin to jewellery - to be loved and looked after. The first collection of Wires was handcrafted by a small team of artisans in Harare, Zimbabwe, using the African wire craft tradition. Wires then designed a patented invisible hinge to allow the glasses to fold, and they are now handmade by eyewear specialists in Northern Italy.

What and/or who inspires your collections?

For the new 2020 collection, “See the World you Create”, Wires are using a bio-material derived from castor beans for both the 3D printed rims, and all sunglasses lenses which include a wide variety of colours: pink, blue, green, orange, brown and grey. The inclusive designs have been developed to suit any face for any occasion and break the conventions of sustainable eyewear, being ultra comfortable, lightweight and durable.

Can you tell us more about the manufacturing and 3D printing process?

Wires 3D prints the rims instead. 3D printing is “additive manufacturing”. This describes a process that only consumes the precise material it needs to form product. Gradually, layer by layer, the rims are built up from a powder. The powder that’s not used is then gathered up and re-used in the next print run, meaning that there is zero waste in the production. Wires glasses are handmade by a family-run eyewear specialist in Northern Italy.

If you could change anything about the eyewear industry what would it be? How do you see this industry evolving over the coming years?

The majority of fashion fabrics now contain synthetic plastic fibres, which both maintains the demand for petroleum (oil) production and also contributes to plastic pollution in the oceans (it is estimated that if consumption patterns do not change there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050). Eyewear is at the forefront of plastic use: glasses are typically made using a wasteful process of cutting frames out of sheets of acetate which typically produces 65-70% acetate (plastic) waste. “The eyewear industry is a $120 billion market in which plastic is the main source of raw material and sustainability is almost non-existent” say Circular Design Europe. For the 2020 collection, Wires Glasses production is zero waste in the production. Wires have sourced a bio-nylon derivative from the castor bean for both the 3D printed rims, and all of the sunglasses lenses and their temple tips contain 43% natural rubber. The manufacturer of the Bio-Nylon lenses source their ecological resin from castor plants in areas like India and Brazil, ensuring that the crops do not compete with food. The production process requires less energy than the production of a classic lens, thus further helping reduce CO2 emissions. This breakthrough offers an exciting opportunity for the eyewear industry to embrace sustainability and Wires hope to be at the forefront of a wider movement in this direction.

Are you able to share what's in store for Wires for the coming years?

Wires are trying to develop the modularity of the frames where one foundational wire fits different lenses. This modular approach means that you can change your look without needing to buy a whole new pair of glasses.

Glasses to last a lifetime.

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